A two and a half hour outage caused Google's Gmail to be down on Tuesday morning.

 

In a blog posting,

 

“This morning, there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centres. This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data centre.

 

“Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data centre in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data centre to another. It took us about an hour to get it all back under control.

“The bugs have been found and fixed, and we're in the process of pushing out changes. We know how painful an outage like this is - we run Google on Gmail, so outages like this affect us the same way they affect you. We always investigate the root causes of rare outages like this one, so we can prevent similar problems in the future.”

 

The company also experienced a phishing scam that attacked the search firm's Google Talk chat service, with users asked to ‘check out this video' by clicking on a link, but the URL directed users to a website called ViddyHo which asked for Gmail usernames and passwords. Once these details were collected, the logins could be used for sending spam or identity theft.

 

Trend Micro also reported that during the downtime, cybercriminals managed to squeeze in an attempt to distribute malicious files to unknowing users. A Google Group page named ‘Gmail down' was the top result on the search engine, with researcher Loucif Kharouni reporting that the page displayed a banner with images related to pornography, which then pointed to a pornographic website that hosted links to malicious files.